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SOOORYA renders new uptake on EVs for the ridesharing sector

SOOORYA renders new uptake on EVs for the ridesharing sector

The ridesharing sector may yet receive a nudge from SOOORYA’s electric vehicle (EV), a transportation vehicle that is worthy of attention.

The ridesharing sector may yet receive a nudge from SOOORYA’s presence, but the company’s purpose-built electric vehicle (EV) for ridesharing is one that is worthy of attention. Said modular platform-based EV makes low capital expenditures (capex) possible. Its because the transportation vehicle could be assembled locally and fitted with off-the-shelf parts for a specific market.

The Singapore-based company has set its sights on sustainable operations with distributed micro-factories instead of one large assembly-line factory. This will lessen the cost and shipping time of EVs that needs to reach specific countries.

“There are a lot of unused manufacturing capacities available in the market, so it’s relatively easier to make contract manufacturing in different geographies,”

said Christie Fernandez, the CEO, and founder of SOOORYA.

He added that the SOOORYA EV was specifically designed for ridesharing. Wherein, Fernandez  noticed that people are willing to pay a premium for comfort during commune. The company lean toward its deployment in the Indian subcontinent, the ASEAN region, African continent, and South America.

A versatile business model

SOOORYA has built its business model not on the basis of subsidies but rather with an emphasis on boosting the income of the driver or owner and ridesharing companies. At the same time, they aim to reduce the cost of an everyday commute without compromising comfort by splitting the fares between the passengers.

SOOORYA's 8-seater EV is the first modular EV concept in Asia that is geared towards the ridesharing sector. Said EV has a max speed of 60kmph and is powered by a less than 25 KW electric motor.
SOOORYA’s 8-seater EV is the first modular EV concept in Asia that is geared towards the ridesharing sector. Said EV has a max speed of 60kmph and is powered by a less than 25 KW electric motor. (Image by SOOORYA)

It  paved the way for the creation of an 8-seater electric ridesharing car that SOOORYA deems as “utilitarian, tech-enabled, and multi-purpose.” The EV has a modular design that can be localized for emerging and developing markets.

SOOORYA is opting to forge tie-ups with specialist manufacturers in outsourcing EV body parts. In this case, the manufacturing of the said parts will be tailored to the company’s specifications.

“Our challenge was in developing technology that was most suitable for the fleet segment, so we leveraged on the expertise of suppliers. We knew what we wanted, but we had to wait for the supplier ecosystem to develop, because we did not want to spend on our own Research and Development (R&D) or manufacturing,”

Fernandez shared.

The company will do the vehicle integration and the end assembly in owned as well as franchised micro-factories. Their team of experts would oversee and implement their initiatives in all aspects of supply chain management, manufacturing, and distribution. Hence, EV production will be a collaborative effort between SOOORYA and contract manufacturers.

E-mobility for ridesharing and ride-hailing

According to Fernandez, about 85% to 90% of the passenger car market is the personal car segment. Meanwhile, the fleet segment is just 10% to 15%. Large automakers are generally don’t focus on it, which led SOOORYA to address the gap with a purpose-built taxi for ridesharing.

Statista, a market and consumer data provider, shared that in 2021, Southeast Asia‘s online ride-hailing and food delivery alone is already worth US $13 billion. By 2025, it may to grow to as high as US $42 billion.

Some of the leading ride-hailing companies in the industry are Grab, Gojek, Ola, Didi, and Uber. Passengers often prefer these service providers as they are less expensive.

Therefore, SOOORYA focuses on the fleet segment. Its initial EV model is a taxi for short-distance ridesharing. The EV’s top speed is 60 kmph, which is ideal for last-mile or first-mile mass transportation. In turn, the vehicle thrives on point-to-point stops within the public utility vehicle (PUV) sphere.

In this sense, the EV fits the needs of everyday commuters and is also viable for employee transport or ride-hailing. Unlike the usual PUV, SOOORYA EV provides comfort, comprising individual seating with seat sensors and ample air conditioning.

USB charging, a panic button, and UV light sterilization are also among the vehicle’s features. Also, as an EV, it has a minimal carbon footprint, so it’ll contribute to reducing air pollution and CO2 emissions.

SOOORYA EV has ample seats for passengers so that commuters can have a premium experience at an affordable cost. It aligns with SOOORYA’s commitment to providing an “Affordable, Comfortable, and Eco-friendly (ACE)” transportation vehicle.

Meanwhile, operators of the SOOORYA EV taxi get to enjoy certain perks. They can take advantage of the ‘plug & ply’ technologies which is a built-in device for applications. They can access GPS and have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi, which is handy in efficiently planning or traversing routes.

Mass transportation innovations

A noteworthy characteristic of the SOOORYA EV is the portability of its batteries. Unlike the usual EVs that require a lot of time for charging, SOOORYA’s transportation vehicle has a unique vehicle architecture of “fixed + swappable batteries,” providing multiple charging options. 

“In the fleet segment, uptime is very important. Fix the downtime, and you increase the profitability of your business,”

Fernandez emphasized.

He noted that the SOOORYA EV would solve the problem of charging downtime so operators and ridesharing companies can avoid losing money due to the time lost. Not to mention, although there’s the apparent progress in the Asian EV industry, charging infrastructures are still sparse on the continent.

In terms of range, the EV can cover up to around 200 km, with its less than 25 KW electric motor. The battery-swapping technology, along with multiple-charging options, would enable ridesharing operators to have no range anxiety or charging downtime.

Another energy source for the said car is its solar roof. It will provide additional mileage at no cost. Hence, ensuring the “lowest cost per kilometer per seat” during ridesharing.

“We focus on the developing countries, most of them in the southern hemisphere, where solar is abundant,”

Fernandez noted in regard to solar roof integration.

Matching the right product to the right market

SOOORYA has been keen on understanding the potential markets for their EV venture. Years of research serve as the company’s foundation for achieving the best Product Market Fit (PMF).

As such, Fernandez emphasized the importance of deploying suitable transportation vehicles that fit a certain market. One example he shared was the case of American brands Ford & GM that were unsuccessful in India, while certain brands made by the Japanese, Koreans, and Indians were more successful. However, none of the brands focus on the fleet segment.

As a result, SOOORYA’s vision is amicable for some industry stakeholders. In fact, the company received inquiries for the production of about 20,000 units. These interests came from the Indian subcontinent, ASEAN countries, Africa, South America, Europe, America, and other parts of the Middle East.

With the finalization of SOOORYA’s vehicle architecture, the EV production phase can become complete within 12 to 18 months. Considering that the SOOORYA EV is the first taxi for ridesharing, it might be what investors, ride-hailing operators, and ridesharing passengers are waiting for.

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